Schools are closed for the year and here’s what to expect

Clara Bowman, News Editor

On April 2, Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer declared a suspension of all K-12 in-person classes.

On Thursday, Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed Executive Order 2020-35, closing all K-12 schools for the remainder of the school year. 

According to the order itself, the decision to suspend face-to-face classroom instruction is “reasonable and necessary” to “mitigate the spread of COVID-19, protect the health and safety of this state and its residents, and ensure the ongoing encouragement of education enshrined in this state’s constitution.”

Ridhima Kodali
An official statement from AAPS hasn’t been made yet but students should look to their teachers for updates when they are released.

School districts will have to develop an alternative learning plan to continue education and must pay teachers through the end of the school year to receive full state funding. Among other things, individual school districts will need to determine how to continue to monitor and assess students in an equitable manner. 

According to Whitmer in a news conference on April 2 following the announcement, plans from the districts should be “locally driven and reflect the best interests of the students in the lesson.” These plans can consist of a combination of online, video conference, telephone, mailed and other forms of communication and assignments. Students and families will not be punished for insufficient access to technology. 

Districts will also have the option of adopting a “balanced calendar instructional program” which means extending the 2019-2020 school year and/or beginning the 2020-2021 school year early. 

Students will receive credit for their classes based on their status when schools closed and their work during the alternative education phase. Seniors will be given additional opportunities to pass classes in order to graduate on time.

All state-wide standardized testing is also suspended. There will be an additional testing date offered in October for high schoolers to take the SAT and PSAT. Additionally, third graders will not be held back for not demonstrating literacy on the M-STEP.

As of April 2 at 11:30 a.m., the Ann Arbor Public Schools have not released how it will respond to the executive order. The Emery will update as more information is released by Whitmer and AAPS officials. AAPS is expected to give a statement later today regarding school closures.